Posts from August 2018

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Despite many employers turning to yoga and mindfulness classes to help relieve stress among their workforce, over half a million workers across the UK have suffered work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17. What’s more, it is one of the two most commonly reported causes of sickness absence. 
 
Add to this the estimated loss of 12.5 million working days a year, and you can see why employers are looking for ways to manage work-related stress. For instance, some organisations are offering yoga and in-house meditation classes to help their workforce de-stress, or mindfulness training to help staff cope with pressure at work. But are these alone actually effective in preventing or managing work-related stress? 
 
 
 
What is Stress? 
At some point, we have all said “I’m feeling a bit stressed” or “I’m stressed out”, but what do we really mean? 
 
Stress can be defined in a number of ways but at the HSE, we define it as: “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. 
 
Our definition distinguishes between stress and pressure as it is generally accepted the latter can be considered good for us and can act as a motivational force helping us achieve our goals. But it is when this pressure becomes excessive over a prolonged period, with no recovery time, that it can lead to stress, anxiety and depression and physical health conditions including heart problems, stroke, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity. 
 
It is no surprise that an industry has built up to create solutions to work-related stress. Its focus tends to be on wellbeing; promoting mindfulness ; helping people already experiencing problems. 
 
As a result, some organisations are now drawing up wellbeing strategies and encouraging their employees to take up yoga or meditation and to just eat better and exercise as a means to de-stress. These solutions do not remove the cause of the work-related stress, meaning they cannot solve the wider issues in the workplace. 
 
 
Resilience Training 
Whilst resilience training does not remove the cause of stress, it teaches your employees proven tools and techniques to cope with the effects of stress. Resilience means being able to cope through prolonged periods of stress.  
 
With stress resilience training you can expect: 
improved productivity and performance 
reduced absence 
greater motivation 
 
To find out how Paula Ruane can help your employees, get in touch
 
Source: Personnel Today 
 
In numerous different animals, cognitive ability, including learning and memory, is often negatively affected by stress. But not all individuals of a particular species are equally good at cognitive tasks to begin with, and they respond to the effects of stress in different ways. 
 
Take pond snails – specifically Lymnaea stagnalis – for example. They, just like other animals (including humans), remember things about different aspects of their environment. They remember smells that are associated with good things to eat, for instance, as well as negative experiences which may be associated with the risk of being eaten themselves. But not all snails are equally good at remembering. Some snail populations, originating from different rivers or ditches, are much better at forming memories than others. 
Teachers are taking absence due to stress. Following a freedom of information request to Bexley Council in London, it was revealed that a total of 297 days were lost to stress. There has been widespread reporting on excessive teacher workloads but what should schools do about it? 
 
Bexley Council revealed how many teachers were required to take time out to recover from stress following a freedom of information request. 
 
The authority was asked for the most recent data for “the number of teachers on long-term stress leave during the last year.” The council said: “In maintained schools 11 teachers were absent in the past year due to stress including depression and anxiety. The total days lost were 297.” 
 
"Fibre is [a] stress beater," states The Sun, while the Mail Online says: "high fibre diets may make you less stressed because your gut affects your brain". Both are reporting on a study that explored whether eating more fibre might help the body to combat stress. 
 
The researchers were particularly interested in the potential role of short-chain fatty acids. These are small molecules produced when the digestive system breaks down high-fibre foods, such as fruits and vegetables. They are known to have a beneficial effect on biological processes such as the metabolism and immune system. So, the researches researchers wanted to see if these effects could also relieve stress. 
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